ROCM

DEVELOPMENT / WORDPRESS

The Site

Click here for the final site


The Task

As part of my university course we were comissioned to work on a project of our choice. I decided to choose a project which would help me expand upon and build skills which I thought would be useful for the path I want to follow. I chose a brief to create a website set by the Royal Observer Corps Museum Trust for the Royal Obvserver Corps Museum.
They wanted a website which would replace the current one and to spread the ROCM's message. The site also had to be built in a way where it could be easily edited by members of staff, meaning that we would need to implement a CMS (Content-Management-System) into the website.
I chose this brief because I thought it would be extremely helpful to begin learning how to set up a CMS (or most probably a wordpress) site as a significant portion of the visible web is run off of these systems.
Our group consisted of three members: a designer (Matt Rogers), another developer (Anya Jessop) and me. Me and the other developer decided early on that they would be in charge of handling the front-end html and css for the site and I would be in charge of setting it up as a CMS site (Which later we settled on being the creation of a custom wordpress theme for the ROCM.) and handling that end of things. So my role was ensuring that the site was easily to edit and use from their end and allowed them to update



Research

To start with we looked into different CMS's to see whether any of the existing alternatives would be better for the ROCM to use than wordpress. We looked into Craft which we deemed too complex and although allowing for the user to do more than base wordpress, we decided this increase of options would only complicate things for the clients.
We decided to stick with wordpress as creating a theme would allow us to customise the site's appearance to the design it and still have the text and content editable by the ROCM.
Initially in order to get an understanding for the feel and appearance we wanted to go for with the site. We began looking into some existing sites for similar institutions. We looked into the British museum. Hampshire Cultural Trust and Imperial War Museum's websites. A trend emerged that the sites all seemed to stress the importance of showing their information (particularly for events) very clearly and logically. This helped to inform the designs that Matt later worked on.



Design

The design of the website was being handled by Matt. He took what we were given by the ROCM and incorporated their guidance and requests into the design. For example, he sampled the colour-scheme for the site off a medal. Me and Anya gave him regular feedback on the designs and we corresponded very frequently with updates on how we were doing to keep the process iterative. You can see how feedback shifted Matt's designs above through how they evolved.



Starting to code

The front-end developer made the site using html and css and passed it onto me. I think this was a mistake and our lack of knowledge about creating a wordpress theme ahead of time made the process of passing the project off from front-end to a wordpress theme a lot more difficult.
Much of the effort spent on the html and css was wasted because the content in wordpress wouldn't allow for classes to be applied and wordpress calculated a lot automatically.
As Anya progressed we were still keeping up to date with one another and we were able to give feedback as the website progressed.




Wordpress

When it came time for me to code the site, I began to realise the limitations of wordpress. For example, the site had previously had two types of paragraph, one with two columns and one with a single column. This would be difficult to implement and include in wordpress without making things overcomplicated and so we decided to go with single paragraphs instead.
Another issue we had is that, when anya sent the files to me, she included wow.js on many of the images, However, if we wanted to allow the Royal observer corps Museum trust to edit the images, we couldn't have them have wow.js on them.

Handover

One aspect of our project was to produce a handover document with a guide on how to use and edit all of the seperate parts of the wordpress site. Anya organised this and Matt and I reviewed it for spelling mistakes and grammar, ensuring that everything was worded in an easy to understand way with minimal jargon.

Final Website

You can see the final site Live here



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